Gnocchi is back! We actually love making our own gnocchi and find it a really simple but delicious meal to make. This recipe is adapted from our simple gnocchi recipe to give it that little something extra special: bacon! Obviously, we aren’t including real bacon, but we’ve discovered the Quorn bacon lardons which are really delicious when cooked up properly.
It’s a simple change to the recipe, so follow the instructions in the link above with one little addition. Firstly, while you are making the gnocchi, you want to start by putting some of the lardons in a frying pan with some oil. Cook them until they are nicely browned, then set them aside and let them cool while you do the rest of the preparations.
Next, when you come to time to roll your gnocchi, take one or two pieces of veggie bacon per gnocchi. The square shape of this product is perfectly suited because it will fit inside the gnocchi so easily without poking out or affecting the final look. Fold your piece of dough to enclose the gnocchi and pinch the sides a little to quickly seal it in. Next you roll between your hands or fingers to get that rounder shape. Don’t be afraid to reshape it and roll it more if you feel it doesn’t look right – it’s very pliable and won’t suffer from being handled more.
That’s all you need to do – the gnocchi will cook just as normal with the bacon inside! It gives it a bit more of an interesting texture, as each piece has that little smokey surprise inside. You can also scatter leftover pieces over the top to finish the dish – our serving method of choice is to layer rocket and tomato sauce over the gnocchi as you fish them out of the pan. This really finishes it off nicely!
Here’s the Vine so you can see how that extra step works:
So, this one has been coming for quite some time. J has been itching to try his hand at coconut bacon (he’s on a desperate hunt for a flavour that is as close to real bacon as possible), and he finally got the chance last week. Since then we’ve had another batch made as it is just so unbelievably delicious – he even admits to preferring this flavour to the real thing, which is big praise from a bacon fanatic!
There are a lot of recipes that tend to make non-veggies a bit suspicious, and this has to be one of them. Surely, they say, getting some random fruit or vegetable and cooking it in a certain way can’t replicate the taste of actual animal products? Well, just as I can say without a doubt I’ve found vegan cheese that I can’t distinguish from real cheese, so you can say that this really tastes like maple-flavoured bacon. This is, if you will, the Holy Grail for ex-carnivores.
Myself, I’ve never tasted bacon, so I left this one up to J. While I was recovering from watching the Oscars and going to bed past 5am, he whipped up this amazing batch which is perfect for snacking throughout the day or topping all manner of meals. We present to you the astonishing coconut bacon:
Want to make it yourself? Here’s how!
Maple Coconut Bacon
Coconut that tastes like bacon - perfect topping for soups and burgers, or great as a snack on its own
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2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon BBQ seasoning
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
3 1/2 cups large flaked coconut
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Mix soy sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup, and seasoning in a large bowl.
Add coconut flakes and gently toss, making sure to coat each flake well.
Using a slotted spoon, scoop seasoned coconut flakes and place onto a baking tray.
Sprinkle coconut flakes lightly with a bit of salt if desired.
Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes making sure to rearrange all pieces for even cooking.
After the first 15 minutes, keep a close watch as the coconut bacon can burn very quickly.
Remove when coconut has a nice browned and caramelized color.
Allow to rest and cool - it will crisp up more.
Experiment with the spices you use - there's no need to stick to traditional flavours. The liquid smoke and maple syrup are key, but you can change the other options around for different taste combinations.
This recipe is a brand new one to us in many ways – I’d never bothered to cook potato from scratch like this before, as it’s just not something that features in our diet very often. But since trying out this potato hash recipe for the first time, we’ve gone on to make it again just a few days later, proving that it’s a new firm favourite. It’s absolutely delicious, and really moreish. The dressing especially makes this all the more special, though be careful not to use too much as it can overwhelm the taste.
Here’s the Vine, so you can see us making the dish:
If you want to make it yourself, follow this recipe!
Avocado and Bacon Potato Hash
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4 Quorn bacon rashers
1 red onion
1/2 tsp paprika
Splash soy sauce, to taste
1 ripe avocado
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Wash, peel, and roughly cube the potatoes
Parboil them for 10 mins from cold in salted water, then drain and leave to one side
Roughly dice the onion, and peel, stone, and thinly slice the avocado
Heat oil in a frying pan and add the potatoes when it begins to smoke
Fry on all sides until golden and crispy
Grill the bacon or fry as per instructions
Add onion to potatoes and stir for a few mins
Add paprika and soy sauce, thin stir more
Fry until onion is well-cooked, taking care not to burn potato
Pile hash in a mound on two plates
Fan avocado slices on top of the hash, then wrap bacon over
Combine olive oil and vinegar in a container and shake to combine
Pour over the dressing - a few teaspoons per plate is enough
You can add just about anything you like to the hash. Peppers, cheese, poached egg, other types of Quorn or soya, tofu, whatever you like. Hot sauce is a good choice too.
On Monday, I posted a Vine recipe for our latest addition to pesto month – pesto mince burgers. Today I’m bringing you my review of those burgers, how they tasted, and how they could be improved!
I’m actually a little delighted that I’ve found a recipe for a veggie burger which is very easy and quick to make. There are just three ingredients in this burger, so it does not get much easier than that! Plus, you can take out the breadcrumbs and make it even simpler if you need to. We served them up with a rasher of (fake) bacon on top, and drizzled a bit of sour cream and chive or ketchup sauce on top. The results were simple yet delightful.
Making them is very simple, as I’ve said, but you do need to watch out a bit for crumbling. They will give way immediately when placed into the frying pan if you do not squeeze them first to make sure that they are as firms as possible. Then you might find them crumbling on the plate as well. But really, if you get it wrong – does it matter? You’ll be eating them up soon anyway, and there’s no need for them to be solid for that! The taste was really great too, and there’s just something magical about the plain Quorn mince together with the pesto. It works because the mince takes on the pesto flavour so well.
How would I improve it? Perhaps to add something like an egg to make the mixture a bit more firm. However, this would prevent it from being vegan friendly, so it’s a toss up there. I reckon this burger would taste great on a barbecue, but of course with it being so crumbly, that might be a difficult thing to try. A little tomato flavouring in there might make a bit more exciting, too. But overall. this has to be the simplest burger I’ve ever made – and it gets a lot of extra points for being delicious.
This pesto burger was just a little bit inspired, even if I do say so myself. I saw a recipe for a beef burger imbued with pesto, and decided to set about making it myself. I knew I was going to have to think of a vegetarian replacement, so my mind went straight to Quorn mince. I’ve never used it in a burger recipe before, so this was the chance to jump on the opportunity!
I basically eschewed all of the other ingredients suggest in the meat recipe, in favour of keeping it simple. I had to cook the mince first as it was frozen, but basically I didn’t have to worry too much about whether it was fully cooked before I took it out because I knew I would be cooking it again. Draining away the water felt a bit painful as it seemed like I was watching the flavour escape too, but this was more than made up for by the pesto flavour mixing through in the final product.
There is a full review coming on Wednesday (update: now live here), so I’ll leave it there, but I will say that these were incredibly easy to make. I would suggest them to anyone who is a bit of a newbie at the burger game, as they take less time and less hassle than any burger recipe I’ve tried so far. We topped them with a rasher of veggie bacon, just to make them even more exciting.
Here’s the vine so you can see just how easy it is:
And now here’s the recipe for you to try:
Pesto and Mince Veggie Burger
A vegetarian burger made from Quorn mince and pesto.
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25g-ish homemade pesto (add more or less to taste)
1 lb frozen Quorn mince
4 veggie bacon rashers (to serve)
Put the mince into a saucepan of boiling water and leave to cook for 10 mins
Drain water and add pesto and breadcrumbs to mixture
Mix thoroughly until evenly distributed
Using your hands, shape into four (crumbly!) patties
Pat them into shape firmly and squeeze to avoid crumbling later
Add them to a frying pan one at a time and fry in vegetable oil for 3-4 mins each side on medium heat
Serve topped with veggie bacon rashers, cooked in the burger oil